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best-laid plans

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Recipe: grand marnier soufflé

Several weeks before Neva came home with us, we began getting the whole house in order, reading our puppy and dog training books (different methods than when we trained Kaweah), and trying to get a jump on our workloads. Let me tell you – since she came home: the entire house looks like a giant puppy playpen, we feel as if we’ve forgotten everything we read in the training books, and it seems that we are already falling well behind in work. It’s no doubt that part of the existence of Puppy Vortex is because I’m still sick – with bronchitis and no voice. Clearly, recovery is but a pipe dream on four hours of sleep a night.

Neva was getting plenty of sleep and plenty of playtime. However, Wednesday morning she had an episode of trembling and lethargy that was sudden and extremely uncharacteristic. Even worse? She refused food. My stomach dropped. There was only one time ever that Kaweah refused food, and that was the morning we said good-bye to her. I fought back tears and asked Jeremy to call the vet for an appointment. Neva was running a low fever and our vet prescribed some meds and asked us to call him in the morning for a status report. Almost as quickly as she had gone downhill, she bounced back within hours to her normal puppy self – biting everything in sight, romping around clumsily, and wanting to explore the whole world.

Despite the setback, we’ve been introducing Neva to new things. She loves the vet’s office as well as my neighbor’s daughter. She completely goes bananas for plain yogurt and peanut butter. And she loves snow. Since we still have lots of snow in the high country, we took her for her first introduction this week.


sitting for her treat from jeremy

happily munching on said treat

fearless bounding across the slushy slopes

having a blast digging pits in the snow

my sweet baby girl



Despite feeling truly crappy right now, I don’t want to get into the habit of punting each post by tossing up a bunch of puppy pics and calling it good. You good people deserve a recipe, and this one is awesome. It comes from my friend, John of Food Wishes, and I was inspired to make it after ordering a Grand Marnier soufflé at a French restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia. I served mine with a Grand Marnier crème anglaise (also from John’s site). I just don’t see how it can get any better! If you decide to serve the soufflés with a side of crème anglaise sauce, you should start the sauce a few hours earlier than the soufflés to give it time to cool.

the crème anglaise: cream, vanilla extract, grand marnier, sugar, salt, eggs (yolks)

heat the cream, sugar, and salt

whisk some of the hot cream into the egg yolks

cook and then strain the custard

stir in the grand marnier and vanilla extract



**Jump for more butter**

out with the old

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

Recipe: chocolate budino

I am routinely guilty of tackling my “spring cleaning” in October – after the fall shoot is done, but before ski season kicks into high gear. And well, if ski season gets an early start, then we boot spring cleaning until next fall. Except this year we undertook a spring purge. Call it the decadal cleaning, because it’s time to puppy proof our house. We never had to do this for Kaweah because she was already 6 years old when we moved in and so good about leaving things alone like trash, compost, food that wasn’t hers, plants – everything.

But puppy… puppy will have to learn. And while we’re puppy proofing, why not go through all of our closets, cabinets, drawers, files, and basement? Oh, and let’s rearrange the furniture, too. It snowballed into a multi-day project in which most of the house was sorted for reorganization, recycling, donation, or trash. I’m happy to report that the smallest category was trash. Our car is loaded with old retired electronics and generations of computing equipment to be recycled responsibly at CHaRM in Boulder.


jeremy replaced our uv decals on the windows so birds won’t crash into our house



I’m glad to finally get this cleaning out of the way. For the past several days the weather has toggled between rain, snow, graupel, and hail. We’ve also had some mighty fine thunderstorms roll through in the afternoons and at night. The high country is getting snow – and that is a truly marvelous thing. Perhaps if the stars align, I’ll get to ski one more time before puppy comes home. The best part about this winter holdout is that she won’t have to wait until autumn to get her first taste of proper Rocky Mountain snow.

mist and snow up valley

storm front approaching

graupel falling on our deck



Even though I don’t do requests on this blog, when I last posted about Bacchanale, people had asked me if I’d recreate the recipe for their chocolate budino. I must admit that the thought had crossed my mind, but I didn’t put it into action until we had our neighbors over for dinner last month. I spent some time recipe testing (and I loathe recipe testing) to get it right, and I think we have a winner. I started the crust with a cookie crumb base because it is just the right crumbly, sandy texture to go with a super rich, thick, creamy pudding.

vanilla, sugar, butter, salt, chocolate sandwich cookies

melted butter, cookie crumbs, sugar, salt, vanilla

mix it all together



**Jump for more butter**

you bet your buns

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Recipe: brioche

Brioche is my absolute favorite bread. It’s not just because of all that buttery, fluffy deliciousness. The first time I tried a brioche was on my very first “date” with Jeremy. I had asked him if he was free and he said he was. He lied. He skipped math recitation. Jeremy never skips class. Never. We went to the bakery in Old Town Pasadena on a Friday afternoon and shared a brioche. It tasted so heavenly. Or maybe my memories are biased because I was really fond of this shy, polite fellow with a sweet smile. Fast forward to now – in Colorado. It’s hard to find good brioche (one could say the same for finding a good fellow). Sure, they sell it here and there, but it tastes like sawdust and crumbles apart before it reaches your mouth. The only way I could find that butter-rich, delicate brioche was to order it in some restaurants or cafés. It’s about time I remedied the problem. All I really want is the perfect hamburger bun.

The ingredient list is short, but the process is on the long side. It’s worth it, people. We swears it on The Precious. So let’s get to work.


eggs, flour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter, milk – that’s it!

mix the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast together

add eggs and milk

mix with the paddle until clumpy, then switch to the dough hook



Honestly, I don’t know how people made brioche before stand mixers existed. Maybe they just had enormous arms from all of the kneading. A stand mixer will make this process so much less painful for you, but you can’t walk away from the mixer while it’s running. Mine had a tendency to walk itself around and I’m sure it would have walked itself off the counter only to bash its brains in if I hadn’t held it in place. There is a lot of mixing and scraping and the motor will get hot. When the dough comes together, start adding the softened butter a little at a time. At first it looks like the butter just spins around and around the dough, but eventually it will smear out and become incorporated into the dough. Have patience and wait to add the next pat of butter only after the previous one has disappeared.

scrape down the sides of the bowl and the dough hook

add butter one pat at a time

half of the butter has been mixed in

knead the dough a few times by hand



**Jump for more butter**